April 3, 1997: Mets Beat Padres for First Win of Season

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Date: April 3, 1997
Mets starter: Bobby Jones
Mets: 4
Padres: 1
Winning pitcher: Bobby Jones
Key player(s): Bobby Jones, Alex Ochoa, Bernard Gilkey
Key play: Ochoa’s RBI single, Gilkey’s home run

The Mets faced the Padres on a Thursday afternoon in San Diego. The teams played the finale of a season-opening three-game series. The Mets came away with a 4-1 victory for their first win of the season.

Padres’ starter Fernando Valenzuela pitched a scoreless top of the first inning. Leading off the bottom half, Quilvio Veras drew a walk against the Mets’ Bobby Jones. Veras advanced to second base on Tony Gwynn’s ground out to second baseman Edgardo Alfonzo and to third on a wild pitch. Steve Finley hit a double to score Veras for a 1-0 Padres lead. Jones then struck out Ken Caminiti and retired Greg Vaughn on a grounder to third baseman Butch Huskey to end the inning.

After scoreless second and third innings, Bernard Gilkey drew a walk to open the top of the fourth. Gilkey moved to second base on an error by first baseman Wally Joyner and to third on Todd Hundley’s line out to center fielder Finley. Huskey singled to drive home Gilkey and advanced to second on Alfonzo’s ground out to third baseman Caminiti. A single by Alex Ochoa scored Huskey to give the Mets a 2-1 lead. Valenzuela got Rey Ordonez to fly out to left fielder Vaughn and end the inning. Jones then set down the side in order in the bottom half.

Lance Johnson got a one-out single in the top of the fifth. John Olerud drew a walk and Johnson was caught stealing on a throw by catcher Carlos Hernandez to Caminiti for the inning’s first out. Gilkey homered to extend the Mets’ lead to three runs and Hundley drew a walk. Valenzuela got Huskey to hit a ground ball to Caminiti for an inning-ending force play. With two outs in the bottom half, Veras singled and moved to second on catcher Hundley’s passed ball. Jones then retired Gwynn on a line drive to center fielder Johnson to close out the inning.

San Diego reliever Will Cunnane (in his major league debut) shut down the Mets in the top of the sixth. Jones hurled a perfect bottom half and drew a walk to lead off the top of the seventh. Johnson flied out to Finley and an ensuing double by Olerud advanced Jones to third base. Gilkey grounded out to Caminiti and an intentional walk to Hundley loaded the bases. Cunnane got Huskey to hit a force play grounder to Caminiti that ended the inning. Jones then held the Padres to a single by Hernandez in a scoreless bottom half.

In the top of the eighth inning, Padres’ reliever Sean Bergman limited the Mets to a single by Ordonez. Jones allowed only a single to Gwynn in the bottom half and Bergman pitched a perfect top of the ninth. Mets’ reliever John Franco got Vaughn to fly out to Johnson to begin the bottom of the inning. Joyner doubled to right field and Chris Gomez grounded out to Alfonzo. Franco then retired Hernandez on a line drive to left fielder Gilkey to end the game. The Mets had avoided a San Diego sweep and chalked up their first victory of the year.